This week we are hearing from Katie; a high-flying city worker who is working hard to strike a balance between her health and work-life.
Q. How old are you?
I’m 30. I work in the City and work are quite accommodating in that I can work from home one or two days a week.
Q. Can you tell me about your disability?
I have asthma and ulcerative colitis and my colo-rectal consultant is also investigating me for rheumatoid arthritis.
Q. What is your typical journey like (prior to the badge)? What happens if you don’t get a seat? How does this impact your day?
Prior to the badge I found my commute very stressful – it was hard to stand to up for long and I have bowel cramps a lot. Asthma, especially in the winter, makes me breathless and wheezy. I ache all over. I arrived at work fatigued and dripping in sweat and in pain. This happens if I don’t get a seat.
Q. Are there any visual cues that would signal you need a seat (prior to the badge)? i.e. walking stick, crutches. How successful is this?
No visual cues at all.
Q. How do you feel about the badge trial?
The badge trial has been amazing for me! About 75% of the time I have been offered a seat without asking. I feel confident to ask politely if I need to and somebody will move. People do stare a bit, but I’ve also had cheerful comments when people offer me a seat like “I’ve not seen one of those badges before” and then I can explain that it’s a trial.
“I’ve heard the trial has been very successful and the plan is to roll it out in the New Year.”
It’s fantastic news! TFL needs to raise more awareness – visible posters at all stations and announcements.
Q. How do you feel living in London with a disability?
I feel quite positive living in London – I have found people in general to be quite helpful when they see the badge. The stairs up and down at stations can be hard work though and I miss having a car.
Q. What do you think would most surprise those without a disability about the way yours affects you?
I think people might be surprised that I have a disability – as it is invisible. I am able to work full time (working from home helps a lot). They also might be surprised at how fatigued I am almost all of the time.
Another person with an invisible disability who is seeing marked results from the wonderful blue badge! Thanks for taking the time to read. Next week I will be discussing how to navigate the Christmas party season when you have a chronic illness.
And if you missed last weeks post, you can have a read here: Should I have to defend my disability?
Until next week!